Fake Clarks shoemakers, what a waste!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

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A mere glance at the photos would not alert you to the fact that the shoes confiscated by the police last week from an underground factory in Kingston were fake Clarks.

In fact, the manufacturers of these fake shoes have obviously tricked thousands people for some time now as our report in last Friday's edition stated that the factory was being operated for more than two years.

That the individuals who ran this operation decided to set it up in a building across from the Kingston Central Police Station on East Queen Street in the downtown district of the capital, suggests that they are most brazen and, quite likely, calculating. For who would think of looking across the street from a police station for an illegal operation?

The police have told us that hundreds of pairs of fake Clarks shoes ready for the market were seized, along with thousands of dollars worth of equipment used to make the popular brand-name shoes.

We support the action of the police in cracking down on this illegal operation because breach of copyright is a very serious offence. Not only does it rob the owners of intellectual property of their due financial rewards, it also erodes the reputation of high quality products in the eyes of unsuspecting consumers.

Our famous Blue Mountain Coffee, jerk foods and a range of other great Jamaican products have been affected by this wanton disregard for quality driven by greed and deception.

Our support for the police's action is strengthened even more by Deputy Superintendent Carl Berry's statement that the perpetrators of intellectual property crimes have been directing millions of dollars into the coffers of organised criminal networks.

Indeed, Mr Berry, who heads the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Vice Squad of the Organised Crime Investigative Division, pointed out that, since last Monday, counterfeit goods valued at almost $600 million have been seized by the police.

Those goods include the knockoff Clarks shoes, bootleg rum, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, compact discs (CDs) and digital video discs (DVDs).

Of course, people will argue that cracking down on the production of fake goods is depriving poor individuals of making a living. We saw that during last Thursday's operation.

However, the people who have voiced support for the fake Clarks manufacturers should think on the fact that their lives could be endangered by the consumption of counterfeit pharmaceuticals or, for that matter, bootleg rum.

Outside of the fact that the nine men held by the police last Thursday will face prosecution, what we find just as unfortunate is the reality of their talent going to waste.

For, based on the workmanship evident on those fake Clarks, it is obvious that had those men not chosen to break the law, they could have still been making a decent living today.

That kind of talent needs to be harnessed and complemented with good business advice.

We have no doubt that there are other talented Jamaicans producing products that well, or who have ideas that can be converted into successful businesses. All they need is encouragement and a start from institutions that have the capacity to assist.




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